Our Short Courses

We are delighted to offer an exciting range of short courses for aspiring practitioners, established designers and interested amateurs. All our short courses will be based at Harewood House, sometimes visiting nearby York Gate Garden and the garden at The Hepworth Wakefield. We’ve brought together some of the leading lights of the garden design world to deliver engaging, up-to-date and fun learning experiences, right in the heart of Yorkshire.

For those who wish to travel and stay in local accommodation to attend one of our short courses please let us know using the Enquire about a Course form and we will provide information on places to stay.


Future dates announced soon
10am to 4pm
Tutors: Liz Rawlinson, Alistair Baldwin
Harewood House

If you’re thinking of becoming a garden designer, or you would simply like to know more about this great profession, this informative and relaxed three-day course gives you the perfect introduction to the principles of garden design, creating planting schemes and the use of an exciting range of building products and accessories. This course is a good stepping stone into our flagship one-year Diploma in Garden Design, as well as giving an engaging insight into the life and work of a practising garden designer; so those who are thinking about joining the profession as a school or college leaver or as a career-changer will get a feel for how it works, straight from the coal face.

This course is delivered over three consecutive days and is based at the beautiful Harewood House in our teaching studio equipped with drawing boards and a host of resources and media. The course will be a practical and engaging blend of lectures, seminars and design exercises with plenty of tutor support and feedback. An Introduction to Garden Design is delivered by Alistair Baldwin and Liz Rawlinson with special guest input from renowned RHS medal winning garden designers who will share their top tips and advice for those interested in taking their garden design learning to the next level.

£525 + VAT


10th, 11th, and 12th of April 2024
10am to 4pm
Tutor: Alistair Baldwin
Harewood House

One of the most valuable skills any designer can develop is the ability to express their ideas through drawing. A hand sketch speaks a thousand words not only when sharing your creation with a third party but also when exploring ideas in your own mind. This stimulating and enlightening three-day course explores the tools and techniques for creating a range of lively, expressive and communicative drawings for both developing and presenting design ideas. From quick loose thumbnails while testing out design ideas, through the demystification of perspective, to the use of a host of tricks to bring presentation plans to life, this course gives confidence and opens doors for even the most novice of artists. No experience in drawing is required!

Freehand Sketching for Designers is delivered by Alistair Baldwin who has built a reputation for teaching the art of sketching over the past 20 years in both the UK and United States. His approach to nurturing the drawing ability in his students is based on the premise that ‘everyone can draw’ and by improving the connections between hand eye and brain through a series of simple exercises even absolute beginners can produce convincing professional-looking sketches.

The course is based at Harewood House and runs over three consecutive days. Students will be provided with a starter collection of pens and pencils.

£495 + VAT


13th, 14th and 15th of May 2024
10am to 4pm
Tutor: Ed Golding of AWB Associates
Harewood House

SketchUp and SketchUp Pro are stalwart essentials in the garden designers toolkit, as superb media for both exploring and presenting design concepts. This three-day course, delivered by Ed Golding, a member of the AWB Associates team and a master of SketchUp, explores the best tools and functions within SketchUp and SketchUp Pro for developing ideas and presenting finished designs. The course also gives an introduction to EnScape, a useful piece of software for rendering SketchUp models to give additional texture and quality of light. Students will need to bring a laptop along on each day of the course. Details of how to access SketchUp software will be provided in advance of the course (students will be given access to the YSGD software provider to purchase a student SketchUp licence at a discount rate).

The course is based at Harewood House in our teaching studio. It runs over three consecutive days to enable students to immerse themselves in the software in the company of experts. Ed will be joined in the studio by a second garden design tutor to answer questions and support students in their learning. All students will be issued with a full set of bespoke ‘how-to’ notes to accompany the course, enabling ongoing home study after the course. Places are limited on this course, so please book early.

£580 + VAT


30th and 31st of May 2024
10am to 4pm
Tutors: Alistair Baldwin, Ben Preston
Harewood House and The Hepworth Wakefield

If you’ve ever wondered how to achieve the beautiful, layered tapestries of colour and texture you see in the gardening books and magazines, this two-day introductory course is for you. We show you how to combine and distribute plants to give successional displays through the seasons, with tips from the experts on which plants to use for reliable shows year after year. Learn about the spacing and proportion of plant groupings, the value of knowing the unique habits of each species and how to use spreadsheets and drawings to plan your designs.

This course runs over two consecutive days in May, when the gardens at our venues Hepworth Wakefield and York Gate Garden in North Leeds are looking fresh and colourful. The course is delivered by Alistair Baldwin with support from Ben Preston, who will share their deep knowledge of planting design and horticulture at the two venues. This course is a perfect stepping stone onto our flagship Diploma in Garden Design.

£325 + VAT


12th, 13th, and 14th of June 2024
10am to 4pm
Tutors: Alistair Baldwin, Ben Preston, and Liz Rawlinson
Harewood House, York Gate Garden, and The Hepworth Wakefield

This three-day introductory course is a fun, inspirational and highly informative way to dip your toe into the enlightening world of planting design. You’ll learn about the mechanics and the artistry behind some of the world’s most stunning plant compositions and leave with a whole new palette of species to experiment with. The course will explore the concept of layered planting schemes, designing for year-round interest and creating climate-resilient planting schemes.

The course runs over three consecutive days during the verdant and colourful month of June. As well as lectures on beautiful planting designs, we will also have a go at some informal planting design exercises to whet the appetite. This course is a perfect stepping-stone onto our flagship Diploma in Garden Design.

The course is delivered by Alistair Baldwin with support from plantsman Ben Preston and YSGD fellow tutor and garden designer Liz Rawlinson in the beautiful setting of Harewood House. It will include time in the iconic York Gate Garden in north Leeds, some 15 minutes from Harewood, and the Tom-Stuart Smith designed garden at The Hepworth Gallery in Wakefield

£495 + VAT

Advanced Sketchup for Garden Designers

1st, 2nd, and 3rd of July 2024
10am to 4pm
Tutors: Ed Golding and Paul Robinson
Harewood House

Following on from the success of our short course Sketchup for Garden Designers we are pleased to be offering this exciting new in-person course to help you take your modelling skills to the next level.

The course will cover topics that will help students breathe extra life into their 3D models including but not limited to sourcing and applying surface textures, the use of software plug-ins, building your own library of plants trees and accessories, creating dynamic fly-through clips, crafting smooth flowing contours, and preparing a model for use in rendering softwares Twinmotion and Lumion.  You will be provided with a basic Sketchup model prior to the start of the course, which your tutors will show you how to embellish and take to new levels of presentation and finish.  You will also be given access to the AWB Associates full library of bespoke Sketchup components.

This course is delivered by Ed Golding and Paul Robinson in our teaching studio at Harewood House, both of whom deliver our Sketchup for Garden Designers course and are highly proficient in creating polished professional 3D models.  The course is aimed at those who have a good basic understanding of Sketchup and would like to develop their skills further. All our Sketchup short course students are given special access to purchase a one year Sketchup Pro (including Sketchup Layout)  licence at a special discounted student price.

£495 + VAT

Photo by Jiaji Wu


Monday 2nd September 2024
10am to 4pm
Tutors: Alistair Baldwin, Liz Rawlinson
The Barn, Serge Hill, Bedmond, Hertfordshire, WD5 ORZ
Suitable for all levels of experience


No better way to start the visit than with tea and coffee in The Orchard Building, a wonderful education and resource venue at the heart of the Serge Hill Project.

During the morning, members of the gardening team with first-hand experience will take us on an insightful tour of Tom and Sue Stuart-Smith’s Barn Garden.

We will also spend time in the Plant Library with Head Gardener, Millie Souter, who will explain the idea behind this plant ordering experiment and offer insights into the survivors and the strugglers. Tom’s vision and Millie’s work is an ongoing process of planting more unusual plant species, observing their performance, editing choices, and learning from the results. We too can learn from the outcomes of these experiments and will, undoubtedly, become acquainted with new plants and leave with fresh ideas for planting combinations.

Lunch will be provided for us in the Orchard Building, after which we will be treated to a masterclass in Late Summer Perennials run by Millie and & Tom Stuart-Smith Studio Landscape Architect, Mattis Schneider.

YSGD founder, Alistair Baldwin and Principal Tutor, Liz Rawlinson will accompany the group throughout the day and look forward to welcoming you on the visit and talking all things plants.

£205 + VAT